Norway considers adding Spain to list of quarantine countries

Norway considers adding Spain to list of quarantine countries
File photo: AFP
A recent increase in coronavirus infections in northern parts of Spain has resulted in Norwegian authorities considering updated travel advice for the country.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstittutet, FHI) is considering adding the Mediterranean country to its list of “red” countries, meaning travellers from Spain will be required to quarantine for ten days, the institute has confirmed in a statement on its website.

The health authority updates its travel advisories every Friday.

Spain is likely to be given the “red” designation if “there are no changes in the coming days”, FHI writes.

“This means that travellers from Spain to Norway may be required to go into quarantine for ten days on their return (to Norway)” should the guidelines be changed, FHI consultant doctor Are Stuwitz Berg says in the statement.

“Norwegians travelling in the relevant regions must follow local advice and act in a way that reduces their risk of infection as much as possible,” Berg added.

Any change to quarantine rules will not be applied retroactively, so those who return before Friday will not have to quarantine.

Recent days have seen reports of increased infection spread in some parts of northern Spain, particularly in the northern regions Aragón and Catalonia.

Most of Spain's provinces have had new Covid-19 outbreaks since the country ended its state of alarm and lockdown on June 21st (200 active outbreaks nationwide currently).

As a result, Spanish authorities have made face masks mandatory in all indoor and outdoor spaces across Spain, except for in the Canary Islands and Madrid where they aren't always obligatory in public.  

 

“We have made an assessment of the infection situation in Spain and travel guidelines will be assessed by the government at the end of the week. But we want to make travellers aware now that Spain may go red if there are no changes before that,” Berg said.

On July 15th, Norway began allowing residents to travel out of the country for tourism to countries in the European Union/EEA and Schengen countries. 

But quarantine requirements continue to apply to countries and regions that will remain classed “red” by FHI.

Norway's foreign ministry only advises travel to countries in the EU which are classed as “red” if it is “strictly necessary”. 

Norwegian residents who visit countries to which only “strictly necessary” travel is allowed are required to go into quarantine for ten days on their return. Theoretically, you can be fined for breaking this requirement.

Infection levels in Aragón and Catalonia are currently above the level set as “red” by FHI for the number of infections per 100,000 residents, at 20.7 per 100,000, according to July 19th figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

 

“We place emphasis on general travel advice: everyone should consider whether they should travel, all travel will involve an increased risk of infection and the situation at your destination can change quickly,” Berg said via FHI’s statement.

“That’s why everyone must check the situation locally. People in risk groups must think hard about whether to travel,” he added.

Updated travel advice for Spain can be found on the Norwegian government’s website.

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